The International Embrace of Khartoum Deepens: With what consequences for Sudan? Introduction and overview (part two of three)

 

Eric Reeves | April 18, 2016 |  http://wp.me/p45rOG-1SO                                  .

Introduction

The evidence of a growing international willingness to embrace the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party regime in Khartoum is everywhere dismayingly evident. This year alone, to date, there have been numerous reports of regional and broader trans-national "cooperation agreements," trade deals, investment commitments, military and economic assistance, and significant diplomatic reassurances in various forms, including from the UN Secretary General and the Chairwoman of the Commission of the African Union. Most extraordinarily, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has awarded the Medal of the Republic of Serbia to regime president Omar al-Bashir, for whom the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued an arrest warrant, charging him with multiple counts of genocide and crimes against humanity.

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Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic

Sudan TribuneRadio Dabanga, and Nuba Reports, along with other Sudanese news sources, have reported these developments seriatim; but a comprehensive survey of headline dispatches gives a terrifying sense of how fully a regime guilty of serial, ongoing genocides has been brought into the international fold (for a remarkable compendium of headlines, primarily from the Sudan Tribune, see the end of Part One).

Additionally, the "refugee crisis" in Europe-although dwarfed by the crises of displacement in Africa, especially in Sudan and neighboring countries-has prompted a cynical rapprochement between the European Union and the Khartoum regime. I discuss this disgraceful expediency at length in "European Hypocrisy on Sudan: Expedient, euphemistic efforts to buy a halt to migration from Africa to Europe," April 7, 2016 (http://wp.me/p45rOG-1SB).

[Note particularly:

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Coptic Christians being marched to their beheadings by Libyan radical Islamists

This comes even as the EU does nothing to improve life for the more than 300,000 Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad, driven from their homes by Khartoum's military savagery.

Presently the UN World Food Program is providing less than 30 percent of the minimum daily kilocalorie needs of the refugees. Very recent large returns of refugees to North Darfur from Chad are unexplained by the UN High Commission for Refugees and in many cases may well be compelled "repatriation" through starvation. Children simply cannot thrive, or even survive, with food rations at present levels; most who remain will develop severe "stunting" from chronic malnutrition, a problem pervasive throughout Sudan, where UNICEF-in an unreleased but widely leaked report-notes that more than 2 million children under five are victims of either severe or moderate malnutrition. Severe malnutrition can be quickly fatal among very young children.

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Darfuri refugees in eastern Chad

The cynicism of the EU has prompted at least some notable news reporting and an important statement from International Crisis Group, giving global context to Europe's "refugee crisis":

"The Global Refugee Crisis: Statement by the Board of Trustees of the International Crisis Group" | Brussels (12 April 2016)

[See also: "Asylum Seekers Focus On Sudan As Gateway To Europe: Greece continues deporting migrants, so asylum seekers are exploring other routes, including through Sudan" | April 12, 2016 | Vocativ]

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My three-part analysis of current trends looks at the various causes and consequences of this remarkable transformation of Sudan's place in the world community.

• Part One [March 31, 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Sf/] provided an overview, along with a lengthy compendium of the most conspicuous examples of this perverse international embrace of Khartoum. The current analysis, Part Two, looks at the violence committed and orchestrated by the regime, as well as the humanitarian consequences of this violence, now extending fully to South Kordofan and Blue Nile. The question that I seek to force with the following account is simple: How can those embracing Khartoum look with evident indifference at such massive suffering that serves only to perpetuate a brutal, ruthlessly repressive, and kleptocratic regime?

• Part Three will look at how 27 years of economic mismanagement by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party (NIF/NCP) have brought the Sudanese economy to the brink of collapse, surviving primarily through the assistance of Saudi Arabia the Gulf States, as well as the implicit promises coming from the European Union. Present-day Sudan is defined by rampant inflation, an almost total lack of Foreign Exchange Currency (Forex), food and water shortages throughout the country, and humanitarian embargoes affecting millions of Sudanese. The role of the International Monetary Fund will be examined in the context of the Sudanese Pound falling precipitously to an all-time low against the U.S. dollar, a sure indication of a lack of Forex:

"Sudanese Pound drops sharply against US Dollar: SDG13" | A supply and demand deficit has seen the Sudanese pound suffer a sudden drop against the US Dollar, which amounted to SDG13 in the parallel [black] market in Khartoum today. The price of a US Dollar rose surprisingly during the past two days, after gravitating around SDG12 to SDG12.3 this year. Traders have attributed the rise to the growing demand in combination with the lack of supply of the dollar and other foreign currencies in Sudan in general. (Radio Dabanga, April 12, 2016)

Diplomatic assistance provided by the African Union has significantly aided the regime's economic survival and shielded it from sanctions. Sanctions that should have been imposed per various UN Security Council resolutions have not been imposed, as the UN Security Council and the UN Secretariat refuse to hold Khartoum accountable for its continuing flouting of some two dozen UN Security Council resolutions, many affecting Sudanese civilians in critical ways.

Sophisticated and enhanced financial sanctions against the Khartoum regime, such as those recently proposed by the Enough Project, would be a critical first step in bringing greater and more punishing pressure to bear on the regime to commit to and implement peace agreements-agreements that would eventually lead to the demise of the regime if truly implemented. There is no evidence, however, that the Obama administration will support such sanctions, however practicable. The administration remains locked into the perverse, finally preposterous view articulated by former Obama administration special envoy for Sudan Princeton Lyman: "Frankly, we do not want to see the ouster of the [Sudanese] regime, nor regime change. We want to see the regime carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures" (Interview with Asharq Al-Awsat, December 3, 2011).

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"Frankly, we do not want to see the ouster of the [Sudanese] regime, nor regime change. We want to see the regime carrying out reform via constitutional democratic measures"--former Obama administration special envoy for Sudan, Princeton Lyman

This, coupled with actions by the EU and other international actors of consequences has emboldened the regime in its crackdown on those who would tell the world about the human rights situation in Sudan:

• UN Human Rights Council: Sudanese human rights defenders prevented from travel to Geneva UPR meeting

(28 March 2016) Sudan's security agency has prevented three members of a civil society coalition from travelling to Geneva, Switzerland, to take part in meetings in preparation for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Sudan in May. The three were stopped by plain-clothed security agents after checking in, told they were banned from travel, and their passports were confiscated. (African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies, March 28, 2016)

• African Centre for Justice and Peace Studieshttp://www.acjps.org/tag/human-rights-council/

In this connection, I will survey in Part Three the most repressive of recent moves by the regime-the wave of newspaper shutdowns and censorship; violence against civilian protestors; hateful use of the various propaganda organs so lavishly funded by the regime; the detaining and torturing of students, particularly Darfuri students; religious intolerance, particularly of Christians; and a great many other repressive measures. These seem to be "misdemeanors" in the eyes of the Europeans-nothing to stand in the way of a deeper embrace of the Khartoum regime.

[Moreover, in a cynical move, extraordinary even by Khartoum's remarkable standards, the regime recently released the man who aided the escape of four men responsible for the murder of USAID worker John Granville in 2008 (also killed were a Sudanese national USAID worker, Qusai a-Jaili, and a Sudanese policeman). The U.S. Embassy in Khartoum could bring itself to only that,

"The United States notes with concern the April 5 early release of Qusai al-Jaili, who was convicted as an accomplice in the prison escape of four men sentenced to death for the 2008 murders of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) employees John Granville and Abdelrahman Abbas Rahama."

"Concern"? This escape from the infamous Kober prison would have been impossible without the assistance of Khartoum's National Intelligence and Security Services. The fecklessness of the U.S. response will be well noted by the regime.]

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Widely respected USAID worker John Granville, assassinated in Khartoum in 2008

PART TWO: Violence and civilian destruction in Sudan-a continuing onslaught

Violence continues to be extreme, particularly against civilians, in DarfurBlue Nile, and South Kordofan-violence ultimately genocidal in character. The slaughter in Jebel Marra and East Jebel Marra continues relentlessly in Darfur, as well as in other parts of this western region. Fighting has reached a crescendo in South Kordofan and Blue Nile states, where brutally destructive conflict has raged four almost five years. Antonov "bombers," retrofitted cargo planes with no militarily useful accuracy, continue to bomb civilian targets on a daily basis. These bombing also include attacks on the sovereign territory of South Sudan, something that has occurred regularly since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (2005).

The feeble international effort to bring about a cease-fire and humanitarian access to all affected civilians in conflict areas takes the form of a "Roadmap" offered by the African Union High-Level Implementation Panel, led for eight years by the diplomatically corrupt Thabo Mbeki, former President of South Africa. Despite its manifest shortcomings, the international community-including the "Troika" (the U.S., the UK, and Norway) and the UN Secretary General-have lined up to support an agreement signed only by Khartoum and Mbeki, who crafted the final version of the "Roadmap" with guidance from the Khartoum regime. The Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement-North (SPLA/M-N) led the refusal to sign the "Roadmap" for several reasons (see a detailed analysis by Sudan Democracy First Group).

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The AU's diplomatically corrupt Thabo Mbeki (left), here with the equally corrupt Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe

The EU evidently finds it easier to credit Khartoum's commitment to a cease-fire and broader agreement than it does to challenge Khartoum's outrageous lies:

'Jebel Marra fighting did not cause displacement': North Darfur official | February 24, 2016 | TAWILA (Radio Dabanga)

In fact, the UN and other monitoring sources now put the number of civilians displaced from Jebel Marra-during Khartoum's massive military campaign to crush the remaining rebel groups-at over 130,000 civilians as of March 31, 2016. This displacement has been explicitly attributed by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to "fighting.

This figure, massive as it is, does not include many who are inaccessible-having fled west or south or to higher terrain. This is of no particular concern to the expedient EU officials and others pushing for an agreement with this same mendacious regime, notorious for never having abided by any agreement with any Sudanese party, ever-not one, not ever:

EU commends AUHIP for Sudan talks April 5, 2016 | BRUSSELS (Radio Dabanga)

The latest initiative of the African Union High-level Implementation Panel (AUHIP) to resolve Sudan's internal conflicts has enhanced the prospects of a resolution, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said. The talks in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa are an important achievement in the pursuit of peace in Sudan and in laying the foundation for an inclusive and comprehensive national consultation, Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative, stated today.

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Federica Mogherini, the EU's clueless High Representative

As it stands, the agreement ties the cease-fire and humanitarian access to a regime-contrived "National Dialogue," one that has as its only goal conferring factitious legitimacy on this wholly undemocratic regime. Moreover, that Khartoum had no intention of committing to a cease-fire is clear from the scale of the current massive and well-planned military offensive in South Kordofan. A "tripartite humanitarian access agreement" was first proposed by the UN, the African Union, and the Arab League in February 2012-over four years ago-has never been agreed to by Khartoum, even as the SPLA/M-North signed on immediately.

In the absence of any progress toward a cease-fire-anywhere in Sudan-fighting rages as the regime uses all its military resources to put down a rebellion that has wide support. Many Sudanese political opposition groups that have not taken up arms share with the various rebel forces of the Sudan Revolutionary Front (SRF) a preeminent desire to see regime change. The primary purpose of the AU "Roadmap," at least from Khartoum's perspective, is to muddle the terms and forces of political opposition. Despite claims that such a "National Dialogue" can lead to a democratization of Sudan's political life, all evidence makes clear that this is another preposterous assessment. The regime itself has made abundantly clear, in many ways, that it regards the "National Dialogue" it initiated as merely an elaborate political ploy (see especially leaked minutes from a July 1, 2014 meeting of senior regime officials, including President Omar al-Bashir).

With spending on military and security services well above 50 percent of the national budget according to virtually all credible observers-a fact never acknowledged, let alone challenged, by the IMF-the regime has abandoned concern for the country's failing infrastructure (particularly noticeable in the form of water and electricity shortages) and the economic welfare of average Sudanese, who suffer under relentless inflation in food prices and other staples. Imported goods have become prohibitively expensive, including basic pharmaceutical supplies. Most conspicuous are critical shortages in food (especially flour with which to make bread) and water for humans and cattle. From Radio Dabanga:

'Four million Sudanese at food crisis levels': FEWS NET | March 13, 2016 | EN NAHUD / KHARTOUM

No breakfast for six million Sudanese basic school students | March 13, 2016 | KHARTOUM

Staple food prices rise across Sudan | March 25, 2016 | MELLIT / HAJAR EL ASA

No bread in parts of Sudan capital | March 3, 2016 | KHARTOUM

Flour crisis ongoing in Sudan | February 25, 2016 | SUDAN [See below reports on regime responsibility for flour shortages-ER]

Sudan's flour shortage: schools suffer from hunger | March 8, 2016 | OMDURMAN / EL GEZIRA

Basic commodity prices continue to rise in Sudan | March 10, 2016 | PORT SUDAN / NYALA / KHARTOUM

Growing discontent over food prices in Darfur | March 18, 2016 | DARFUR

Khartoum queues for bread as flour shortage bites | February 29, 2016 | KHARTOUM

East Darfur fuel and food prices rising | February 26, 2016 | ED DAEIN

Imported goods 'unaffordable' in Sudanese markets | March 15, 2016 | EL OBEID / NYALA

Prices continue to rise in South Darfur capital | March 13, 2016 | NYALA (South Darfur)

Higher price for staple foods in North Kordofan | March 1, 2016 | SODARI

Water supply disrupted in Sudanese towns | March 15, 2016 | EL GEDAREF / RIVER NILE / KHARTOUM

Drinking water scarce in Sudan's Blue Nile, River Nile [States] | March 2, 2016 | ROSEIRES / SHENDI

No water in El Gedaref districts, eastern Sudan | March 9, 2016 | EL GEDAREF

‘Difficult to obtain food' in West Kordofan | April 5, 2016 | LAGAWA / MUGLAD

'South Darfur city lacks water until rainfall': corporation | April 1, 2016 | NYALA (South Darfur)

‘No basic services' in eastern Sudan's Haya | March 20, 2016 | HAYA

Sudanese, cattle suffer from water service disruptions | March 18, 2016 | TULLUS / EL GENEINA / SENNAR

Eastern Sudan: No water in Aroma, no bread in Kassala | March 17, 2016 | AROMA / KASSALA

Water tariff increase in East Darfur | March 1, 2016 | ED DAEIN

Thirst in North Darfur's Tabit, eastern Sudan's El Gedaref | February 25, 2016 | TABIT / EL GEDAREF

[See also, "Water Crisis Spreads throughout Sudan" | June 2015 ]

Notably, the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) has become, under the current regime, steadily more dependent upon the regime's survival to protect its own business and economic interests. As one recent analysis put the matter, "the current regime has expanded SAF's role in the economy and in business, while at the same time weakening it as a professional army. These features make predicting which role the military may take in political affairs in the future difficult." The most senior officers, those who benefit most from the survivalist cronyism the regime has perfected, may well remain loyal. But there are already a number of signs of deep disaffection within the middle officer ranks (most notably colonels and majors). (See also "Kleptocracy in Khartoum: Self-Enrichment by the National Islamic Front/National Congress Party, 2011 - 2015").

The same is true of the security services, as reported in an immensely important but almost entirely overlooked investigative report by al-Hurriyat newspaper in exile, reported in English in a dispatch by Radio Dabanga last August 2:

The Saiga Company, one of the largest flour suppliers in Sudan, shut down its mills on 25 July after a dispute with the government. The move was the result of a dispute last month between Saiga and the Khartoum government about the dollar rate set for wheat imports, the independent electronic newspaper al-Hurriyat reported on Friday. The newspaper stated that the much higher US dollar rate on the black market, currently sold for SDG9.60, is causing major losses to the flour mills. Adel Mirghani, secretary-general of the Bakers Union of Khartoum state confirmed to Hurriyat that Saiga stopped its flour production a week ago. He said that people in many districts of the capital are now suffering from a "crippling shortage of bread", as the bakeries now depend on distribution by Seen Flour Mills alone.

The newspaper stated that the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) has now become the sole provider of flour to the bakeries, as Seen Flour Mills is owned by the security apparatus.

The hugely inflationary effect of this and other regime measures, and a general economic malfeasance, have produced the staggering inflation rates suggested by the dispatches above. But all this is simply denied by the regime-controlled Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), which generates whatever figures the regime wishes. Scandalously, the IMF accepts CBS statistics at face value, even as the collapse of the Sudanese economy brings ever-greater human suffering and death.

For now, the army and various militias forces-including the Popular Defense Forces (PDF) and Rapid Support Forces (SRF)-remain firmly loyal in conducting the most brutal, finally genocidal counter-insurgency efforts in the traditionally marginalized areas of Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile. There are, however, many signs of growing unrest, especially in eastern Sudan.

THE CHARACTER OF PRESENT VIOLENCE IN DARFUR

The recent "Darfur Referendum" was widely acknowledged, even by the most expedient of international actors, to have been a charade, a propaganda exercise that had no meaning whatsoever for the people of Darfur. Darfuris in the main, where they had a choice, simply boycotted the referendum. That didn't prevent a great deal of thuggery and propaganda bluster from the regime. Notably, the U.S. declared that the Darfur Referendum cannot be considered a "credible expression of the will of the people of Darfur," declaring further that a lasting peace in Sudan "will only be attained through a political process that addresses the underlying causes" of the Darfur conflict (Radio Dabanga, April 10, 2016). But of course no such process exists-certainly not for the people of Darfur.

Instead, there is a relentless onslaught of violence. Some of it now occurs in towns and even cities. Most of it, however, is still in rural areas-areas where the UN/African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is failing almost completely in providing protection. With the withdrawal of South African troops, and the impending failure of a meaningful UNAMID re-authorization in June (two months hence), the future of Darfur appears unspeakably bleak.

It remains the case that violence defines life throughout Darfur, even as impunity for those doing Khartoum's bidding is complete. Much of the violence is now out of the regime's control, but this poses no real threat to the SAF or RSF forces that are the dominant armed elements throughout the region. The recent capture of Sarrong in Jebel Marra may reasonably be seen as the last stage in the grim, 13-year counter-insurgency in Darfur. The loss of so much of the Jebel Marra redoubt of the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdel Wahid largely ends its effectiveness as a fighting force. Military actions continue, but it is unlikely that Khartoum will again lose is control of the strategic sites in the greater area of the massif. The savage ethnically-targeted destruction of civilians in East Jebel Marra continues, but there is very little in the way of military resistance to the predations of the RSF. What we see now is a violence that varies in intensity and location, but appears sufficient to prevent any re-grouping of the already fractious Darfur rebel forces. The past two months have seen horrific violence throughout North Darfur, but especially in Jebel Marra. The following headlines (from Radio Dabanga unless otherwise indicated) tell far too much of the story:

Jebel Marra activists: 150 villages torched | March 18, 2016 | JEBEL MARRA

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The torching of villages of African farmers has for years been a commonplace in Darfur

Sudan continues to bomb empty villages | March 4, 2016 | GOLo (Jebel Marra)

Barrel bombs kill 13, deserted villages torched in Jebel Marra, Darfur | March 2, 2016 | GOLO

Entire village plundered, torched in Tawila, North Darfur | March 30, 2016 | TAWILA (North Darfur)

Thousands flee renewed Jebel Marra shelling | March 29, 2016 | KABKABIYA (North Darfur) / NIERTETI (Central Darfur)

Darfur's East Jebel Marra: Surviving under siege | March 28, 2016 | EAST JEBEL MARRA (North Darfur)

Sudanese army seizes last rebel stronghold in Jebel Marra Sudan Tribune | April 12, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Tuesday said its forces captured the last rebel stronghold area in Darfur located north-west of the Jebel Marra...

Clashes continue to take place in Darfur's Jebel Marra: UN | Sudan Tribune | April 6, 2016 (NEW YORK) - Clashes and bombing continue to take place in Darfur area of Jebel Marra between the government forces and the fighters of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement...

Villagers flee attack, abductions in Darfur's Jebel Marra | April 1, 2016 | EAST JEBEL MARRA (North Darfur)

AERIAL BOMBARDMENT BY ANTONOV DROPPING HIGHLY INACCURATE SHRAPNEL-LOADED BARREL BOMBS (for a history of this barbarism, see www.sudanbombing.org)

Surviving the Antonovs in Darfur | March 22, 2016 | EAST JEBEL MARRA (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

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The Russian-built Antonov cargo plane (here the An-26) has been converted to a crude but deadly bomber, in effect a weapon of mass destruction against civilians

Two children die, Sortony strafed in Darfur air raids | March 20, 2016 | SUNI / SORTONY (North Darfur)(Radio Dabanga) [Sortony is the site of the major concentration of those fleeing the fighting in Jebel Marra-ER]

Pregnant woman killed, two injured in air raid on Darfur's Jebel Marra | March 16, 2016 | DERIBAT (South Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Thousands flee renewed Jebel Marra shelling | March 29, 2016 | KABKABIYA (North Darfur) / NIERTETI (Central Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Three dead, many injured in attacks in Darfur's Jebel Marra | March 25, 2016 | KERNEY (Radio Dabanga)

Air raids: Four dead in Darfur, parts of Blue Nile hit | March 27, 2016 | MALAM / BAU (Radio Dabanga)

Extensive aerial bombardment on Darfur's Jebel Marra | April 14, 2016 | JEBEL MARRA (Radio Dabanga)

Mother and sons killed in Jebel Marra air raid | March 15, 2016 | KALOKITING / GULDO (Radio Dabanga)

Bombs, detentions in west Jebel Marra | April 11, 2016 | GULDO / NIERTETI (Central Darfur)

RAPE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE AS A CONTINUING WEAPON OF WAR IN DARFUR

Women activists ‘silenced with rape' in Sudan: Human Rights Watch | March 24, 2016 | NAIROBI (Radio Dabanga)

'Mass rape in Guldo in Darfur's Jebel Marra' | March 30, 2016 | GULDO (Central Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Minor raped in North Darfur | April 14, 2016 | KUTUM (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Two raped at well in Darfur's Jebel Marra | April 13, 2016 | JEBEL MARRA (Radio Dabanga)

Darfur: Four young firewood collectors raped | April 8 - 2016 TAWILA (North Darfur) / MERSHING (South Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Nine raped, including minors, near North Darfur camp | March 1, 2016 | EL FASHER (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

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Women and girls who have been raped are often scarred or branded, as here--this to make the fact of their rape permanently visible (photograph by Mia Farrow)

Two girls raped, others held in Tabit, North Darfur | March 31, 2016 TABIT (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

One killed, farmer raped in North Darfur | March 29, 2016 | TAWILA (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Water collector raped in Tawila, North Darfur | March 28, 2016 | TAWILA (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

North Darfur straw collectors raped, beaten in Tabit | March 23, 2016 | TABIT (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Girl raped and cattle stolen in North Darfur | March 18, 2016 | TAWILA (North Darfur) / GARSILA (Radio Dabanga)

THE PERVASIVENESS OF VIOLENCE IN EVERYDAY LIFE IN DARFUR

Attacks in Darfur: Four killed, students beaten | April 5, 2016 | ASSALAYA / DELEIG / EAST JEBEL MARRA (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Woman, child injured in South Darfur inferno | March 17, 2016 | ABU AJURA (South Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Two Darfur children injured in govt. attack on Jebel Marra | March 21, 2016 | GOLO (Central Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Murder, assault, robbery in Jebel Marra, North Darfur | March 21, 2016 | GOLO / KABKABIYA / TABIT (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

‘Armed, masked foreign Islamists' arrive in North Darfur | March 25, 2016 | KUTUM (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Darfur militias continue to collect illegal road tolls Sudan Tribune | April 8, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Unknown gunmen have wounded a passenger on Thursday after a bus driver on a highway linking two major cities in Darfur refused to pay them illegal tolls. Fighters from (...)

Two killed in gunfight in Central Darfur market | April 15 - 2016 | UM DUKHUN / DELEIG (Central Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Darfur police station clash: 8 dead, tension remains | April 11, 2016 | BINDISI (Central Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Robberies in Darfur: One woman killed | April 1, 2016 | MUKJAR / DELEIG / GIREIDA (South Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Murder, kidnapping and robbery spree in Deleig, Central Darfur | April 14, 2016 | DARFUR (Radio Dabanga)

Five killed in ongoing Darfur police station clash | April 8 - 2016 SARAF UMRA / BINDISI (Central Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

THE CHARACTER OF VIOLENCE IN SOUTH KORODFAN AND BLUE NILE

Discrepancies between accounts from the Khartoum regime and the Sudan People's Liberation Army/Movement-North (SPLA/M-N) should be seen in the context of the past four years of press releases and dispatches. Any comprehensive survey of what has been said by the regime and what has been said by the SPLA/M-N will reveal gross disparities in accuracy and truthfulness: Khartoum lies shamelessly and frequently; the SPLM/A-N has occasionally exaggerated its successes and has not been entirely forthcoming about the role of the Darfuri rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). Overall, however, statements from the SPLA/M-N have been consistently representative of events as they occur. Khartoum's accounts, meant primarily for domestic consumption, are frequently inaccurate, overstated, or bald lies. Defeats are never mentioned, even when they are of considerable significance.

What this suggests, in light of the dispatch headlines below from the past couple of months, is that the SPLA/M-N is again more than holding its own against the overwhelming firepower of the SAF and regime's use of the only air force in the conflict. This is the fourth full dry-season campaign by Khartoum against the SPLA/M-N. Each year President al-Bashir declares that this will be the "final year of fighting-one of victory." Such victory, despite the massive and clearly well-prepared offensive that was launched several weeks ago, is certainly not within Khartoum's grasp under present military circumstances.

"SUDAN, REBEL FORCES CLASH IN FIGHTING SEASON'S BIGGEST BATTLES YET" | Sudan government forces attacked at least six rebel-held locations across the Nuba Mountains this week, sparking the largest battles the region has seen in more than a year. (Nuba Reports | www.NubaReports.org/)

South Kordofan: SPLM-N kills 'dozens' of soldiers | April 10, 2016 KADUGLI / HEIBAN / RASHAD / KOLOGI (Radio Dabanga)

Rebels seize materiel in battle with Sudanese army | April 6, 2016 | MUFU (Radio Dabanga)

SPLM-N retakes Ugab area in South Kordofan: spokesperson, Sudan Tribune | March 30, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) said it has recaptured the town of Ugab in Heiban County in South Kordofan state.

SPLM rebels claim new victories against gov't troops in Sudan's Two Areas, Sudan Tribune | April 7, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N) Thursday said its fighters have achieved new victories against the Sudan Armed Force (SAF) troops in the South Kordofan...

SPLM-N claims more victories in S. Kordofan and Blue Nile | Sudan Tribune | April 3, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement/North (SPLM-N) said its forces have defeated the government troops in Al-Azrag area in South Kordofan state.

SPLM-N forces defeat government troops in fresh clashes: spokesperson | Sudan Tribune | March 31, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudan People's Liberation Movement - North (SPLM-N) Thursday said its fighters repulsed an attack on their position in eastern Kadugli area of Um Dorain...

Sudan reports new victories in S Kordofan, "false propaganda" says SPLM-N | Sudan Tribune | March 29, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The Sudanese army Tuesday said that its troops have recaptured a strategic area in Kadugli sector, adding that they take the lead on the ground, but the SPLM-N said (...)

Rebels: Three dead, ongoing air raids in South Kordofan, Blue Nile | April 14, 2016 | KADUGLI (South Kordofan) / BLUE NILE (Radio Dabanga)

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Civilians in the Nuba Mountains are ruthlessly targeted by Khartoum's aircraft (photograph from Dr. Tom Catena, Mother of Mercy Hospital, Gidel, Nuba Mountains)

Civilians killed in heavy shelling, bombing in South Kordofan | April 5, 2016 | KADUGLI (South Kordofan) / NUBA MOUNTAINS (Radio Dabanga)

‘Fighting continues in Sudan's South Kordofan and Blue Nile': SPLM-N | April 4, 2016 | NUBA MOUNTAINS (Radio Dabanga)

Rebels ‘besiege Sudanese Govt. forces' in Nuba mountains | March 31, 2016 NUBA MOUNTAINS (Radio Dabanga)

One killed, two injured as fighting continues in Sudan's Nuba Mountains | March 29 - 2016 NUBA MOUNTAINS / KURMUK (Radio Dabanga)

SPLM-N areas ‘liberated' by Sudan army | March 29, 2016 | NUBA MOUNTAINS (Radio Dabanga)

SPLM-N rebels claim destroying army garrison in South Kordofan | Sudan Tribune | April 15, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - The rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) Friday said its fighters have destroyed the government army garrison in Zalataya area, 3 kilometres north of (...)

SPLM-N claims killing of 40 govt. troops in Blue Nile's Kilgo | March 14, 2016 | KILGO (Radio Dabanga)

Thousands flee fighting in northern South Kordofan | March 14, 2016 | EL OBEID (Radio Dabanga)

Heavy bombing in Kordofan's Nuba Mountains | March 11, 2016 | NUBA MOUNTAINS / KILGO (Radio Dabanga)

THE HUMANITARIAN CONSEQUENCES OF KHARTOUM'S SCORCHED-EARTH, CIVILIAN-FOCUSED MILITARY CAMPAIGNS

With the addition of more than 130,000 civilians newly displaced from Jebel Marra, there are now more than 3 million Darfuris uprooted from their homes-the greatest number since conflict began in 2003, thirteen years ago. Privations of all sorts-lack of water and food, lack of primary medical care, horrific sanitary conditions, lack of educational opportunities-define the lives of the vast majority of these people. Camps for the displaced are increasingly dangerous and subject to militia attacks, extortion, and other forms of violence. The suffering of camp residents is largely invisible, as UN agencies and International Nongovernmental Organizations (INGOs) are silenced by Khartoum's threats of expulsion. The regime also refuses to allow meaningful human rights investigations-by UNAMID, the weak UN Special Rapporteur, and by independent human rights organizations.

What we know, we know through the reporting of Sudanese news sources, particularly Radio Dabanga and Sudan Tribune. What they report-just from the last past months-makes clear just how disgraceful the international embrace of the Khartoum regime is:

More than 240 Nuba starve to death in South Kordofan | March 7, 2016 | KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)

Famine victims searching for seeds and grains near a UN World Food Programme (WFP) food distribution centre. The 1998 famine in Southern Sudan affected around 2.6 million people. In the worst-hit region of Bahr el Ghazal, most of the people at risk of starvation were from the Dinka tribe.

Children starving during the 1998 Bahr el-Ghazal famine of 1998; Khartoum bore primary responsibility, as it does for present starvation of children in the Nuba Mountains

Disease kills five children in East Darfur | April 14, 2016 | EAST DARFUR (Radio Dabanga)

Lack of health care: Children, mother die in Darfur's Jebel Marra | April 7, 2016 | JEBEL MARRA (Radio Dabanga)

‘More than 130,000 Darfuris now displaced from Jebel Marra': UN OCHA | April 3, 2016 | DARFUR (Radio Dabanga)

Two killed in raid on North Darfur camp market | March 30, 2016 | KABKABIYA (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Rising tensions in North Darfur's Sortony camp | April 1, 2016 | SORTONY (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Murder threats in North Darfur camp | March 31, 2016 SORTONY (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga) 

‘Jebel Marra paramilitaries' raid Central Darfur market | March 28, 2016 | NIERTETI (Central Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)       

Darfur's East Jebel Marra: Surviving under siege | March 28, 2016 | EAST JEBEL MARRA (Radio Dabanga)

Malnutrition, fear cause Darfur women to miscarry in Jebel Marra | March 25, 2016 | JEBEL MARRA (Radio Dabanga)

Conjunctivitis, bad sanitation in North Darfur camps | March 18, 2016 | KABKABIYA / SORTONY (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

North Darfur medics continue strike in El Fasher | March 16, 2016 | EL FASHER (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Hunger deepens in South Darfur's Kalma camp | March 9, 2016 | KALMA CAMP (South Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Animals die of thirst in Tabit, North Darfur | March 3, 2016 | TABIT (North Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Ringworm spreads in Otash camp, South Darfur | March 3, 2016 | OTASH CAMP (South Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

Disease among displaced in Jebel Marra, air raids unabated | February 28, 2016 | GOLO (Jebel Marra) (Radio Dabanga)

‘Lower success rate caused by classroom shortage': Darfur governor | April 11, 2016 | NYALA (South Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

More displaced in Central Darfur need aid | February 23, 2016 | NIERTETI (Central Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

‘New Central Darfur displaced denied aid': camp coordinator | February 22, 2016 | ZALINGEI (Radio Dabanga)

Displaced call for UNSC pressure on Khartoum: Still no access to Central Darfur | February 25, 2016 | ZALINGEI / KHARTOUM (Radio Dabanga)

Concern in South Darfur, Govt. to dismantle camps | February 23, 2016 | KASS (South Darfur) (Radio Dabanga)

The dismantling of the camps for displaced persons, an ambition aggressively announced by Second Vice President Hasabo Mohamed Abdelrahman late last year, is the ultimate threat to the African tribal populations of rural Darfur (see "A Massive Catastrophe Looming in Darfur: Forcing displaced persons from camps in Darfur is a prelude to camp dismantling," | January 5, 2016 | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1Qo/).

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Second Vice-President of the Khartoum regime, Hasabo Mohamed Abdelrahman, is reported to have called for the killing of all African tribal people in East Jebel Marra, describing them as "insects" (Human Rights Watch, "Men Without Mercy," September 2015)

The vast majority of displaced persons have lost their lands through violent expropriation by Arab militias, some non-Sudanese (see "Changing the Demography": Violent Expropriation and Destruction of Farmlands in Darfur, November 2014 - November 2015" | http://wp.me/p45rOG-1P4/). If they are expelled from camps or the camps are dismantled, they will have neither livelihoods nor access to international assistance. The Khartoum regime long ago made clear it would do nothing of consequence to assist these people, despite fulsome statements to the contrary.

The international community is not simply embracing a regime: it is embracing all that this regime has done, and continues to do, to increase the suffering and destruction among the people of Sudan. It is simply unforgiveable.

APPENDIX A: Food insecurity in the Nuba Mountains

One direct consequences of Khartoum's barbarous humanitarian embargo directed against the Nuba people of South Kordofan:

South Kordofan/Blue Nile Coordinating Unit | Flash update #13 - March 2, 2016 | coordination@skbncu.org

Emergency in Kau-Nyaro-Warni area (Southeastern Jebel, South Kordofan State) | An estimated 65,000 people are in urgent need of assistance

The "Special Bulletin: Food security situation in Warni and Kau-Nyaro" just released by the Food Security and Monitoring Unit (FSMU), reports levels "of food insecurity unprecedented" in their regular monitoring of the Two Areas. [1] As many as sixty four percent (64%) of households in the area are severely food insecure; and a further thirty six percent (36%) are moderately food insecure (total 97%). This degree of food insecurity is not without its manifestations. Two hundred and forty two (242) people are reported to have died between July and December 2015, in the 8 villages assessed, 145 of which were attributed to lack of food. Almost 10 percent of those who died from lack of food were under the age of five.

Malnourished mother and child at a supplementary feeding station run by the UN WFP (World Food Programme). The 1998 famine in Southern Sudan affected around 2.6 million people. In the worst-hit region of Bahr el Ghazal, most of the people at risk of starvation were from the Dinka tribe.

Khartoum is deliberately starving children in the Nuba Mountains

-- 

 

Eric Reeves 
Smith College

Northampton, MA  01063 

ereeves@smith.edu

www.sudanreeves.org

Twitter@SudanReeves 

 

 

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